Friday, June 12, 2020

Deforestation, hunger, coronavirus proliferating in LatAm (June 12, 2020)

News Briefs

  • A new ECLAC book presents the results of more than a decade of work on the economics of climate change. It analyses the global evidence and the impact of climate change in the region, examining sectors such as agriculture, health, transport and energy. The links between climate change, sea level, biodiversity and the water challenge are studied. In particular, the effects on the two most vulnerable subregions, Central America and the Caribbean, are addressed and an account is given of the agreements reached in the region to tackle the problem of global warming.
  • The coronavirus is rapidly spreading through the Amazon's indigenous communities, reports NPR.
  • While world carbon emissions are expected to drop 7 percent this year, Brazil is a glaring exception, reports the Economist. Deforestation will push the country's emissions up 10-20% over 2018 levels. In the first four months of 2020 an estimated 1,202 square km were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon, 55% more than during the same period in 2019, which was the worst year in a decade. Consumers of beef and soy could help by pressuring enormous multinational companies to certify their products are deforestation free.
  • The case of a five-year-old boy who died after falling off a building roof while under his mother's employer's care has become emblematic of racial inequity in Brazil. (Guardian, see Monday's briefs)
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's tensions with democratic institutions stem from a desire to protect family and associates from criminal investigations and also as a foil for his inept governance, according to the Economist. While an actual military coup seems unlikely, his reliance on the military to run sensitive areas -- such as health and environment -- risk the army's reputation and are pushing divisions within the armed forces, notes the piece.
  • A Bolsonaro supporter desecrated a beachside memorial to Covid-19 victims in Rio de Janeiro, a sign of the times as the country’s coronavirus death toll rose above 40,000, reports the Guardian.
  • Venezuelan women are politically active, but are often restricted to local levels and subordinate positions, while men are appointed or elected to higher office, writes Kristen Martinez-Gugerli in the third piece in a series on the impact of Venezuela’s crisis on women and girls at Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights.
  • The deportation of notorious Haitian death squad leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant from the United States back to Haiti is a question of when, not if, reports the Miami Herald.
  • Bolivia's interim government said it would purge government officials associated with the ousted Morales administration, and accused MAS party sympathizers of "conspiring" against the Ánez government, reports Página Siete.
  • Cocalero leader and senate candidate Andrónico Rodríguez -- considered by some to be Evo Morales' successor -- told Nodal about the difficulties Cochabamba's informal workers face with coronavirus lockdowns, and how efforts to distribute food to needy families led to clashes with security forces in some cases.
  • Venezuela is now on the verge of famine, the International Crisis Group warns. More than half of the land used to grow vegetables last year won’t be replanted, and U.S. sanctions threaten to strangle what little food and oil is getting in from abroad, reports Bloomberg.
  • The coronavirus pandemic could push more than 14 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean into hunger, today's Latin America Advisor looks at what that means in more detail.
  • Latin America's battle with Covid-19 is complicated by numerous structural challenges, according to the Wilson Center's Weekly Asado blog. "The region’s infamous inequality has left one-in-two workers laboring in the informal sector, whose daily wages are imperiled by quarantines. There is also the geography of poverty. Major cities like Rio de Janeiro, Lima and Bogotá are surrounded by densely populated informal settlements, where complying with social-distancing measures is close to impossible."
  • The percentage of Argentines in poverty is expected to reach as high as 45 percent this year as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens an already grave economic crisis, reports the Associated Press.
Dominican Republic
  • About 1 in 500 Dominicans is infected with Covid-19. Now, just three weeks ahead of the general election, leading candidate Luis Abinader said he and his wife have tested positive, reports Al Jazeera. The vote was postponed from May, and is scheduled for July 5 despite the pandemic.
  • Chile exceeded 154,000 confirmed coronavirus cases yesterday and 2,600 deaths, one hundred days after the outbreak began. (Reuters)
  • Unionized workers at Chile’s state-run copper company said they were weighing walking off the job in order to implement a self-imposed quarantine after one of their members died from COVID-19, reports Reuters.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $594 million emergency assistance package for Guatemala’s response to the coronavirus crisis, reports Reuters.
  • Colombia’s government could allow people to make partial withdrawals from their pension funds during the coronavirus economic crisis, reports Reuters.
  • Colombian protesters demonstrated in Bogotá against economic reforms they said would weaken workers protections with the goal of "stabilizing" the economy, reports Telesur.
  • Marta Lucía Ramírez, acknowledged that one of her brothers was sentenced 23 years ago in the United States for “conspiracy for drug trafficking," after local media reported on the previously undisclosed case. (Semana)
Anti-incumbent wave
  • The recent -- still undetermined -- elections in Suriname and Guyana reflect an anti-incumbent trend in the region, as well as increasingly ugly fights over electoral results, according to the Latin America Risk Report. "Guyana and Suriname’s elections are likely signs of things to come across the region when those trends clash."
  • Over 70% of the indigenous Peruvian community of Cantagallo Island have tested positive for coronavirus - Guardian photo essay.

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